FESTIVAL KICKOFF. Dancers in colorful costumes entertain the crown during the countdown for the official start of the 43rd Masskara Festival at Government Center grounds close to midnight Friday (Sept. 30, 2022). The main events on October 22 and 23 will feature the Electric MassKara float and dance showdown and the street and arena dance competition, respectively. (Courtesy of Bacolod City-PIO)

BACOLOD CITY – The National Telecommunications Commission approved the shutdown of signals from mobile service providers during the main events of the 43rd Masskara Festival on October 22 and 23.

Pinky Mirano-Ocampo, festival director, said in a statement on Sunday that the shutdown will be implemented during the Electric Masskara float and dance showdown, and street and arena dance competitions.

“This is customary during big events, especially since we are expecting no less than President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to grace our main event,” she said.

Ocampo, however, said the signal jamming “will only be limited to performance areas such as the major dance routes and the festival arena at the Paglaum Stadium.”

Without mobile network signals, revelers would not be able to make phone calls, send text messages, and access mobile data.

The Electric Masskara competition on October 22 will be held at Megaworld’s The Upper East and Bacolod City Government Center grounds.

On October 23, the festival will end with performers dancing their way through Rizal and Araneta streets before reaching the Paglaum Sports Complex. 

Over the weekend, the Masskara Festival opened with a countdown and a fireworks display witnessed by about 20,000 spectators at Bacolod City Government Center grounds.

Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez and Lone District Rep. Greg Gasataya led city officials during the kickoff of the three-week festival.

“This is just a preview of what the people can expect in the succeeding weeks and we promise to keep the momentum going and make it even grander during the Masskara highlights on October 21 to 23,” Ocampo said.

Major events on Saturday included the 1st MassKara Bike Fun Ride participated in by more than 2,000 riders and a night concert at Bacolod Public Plaza.

The world-renowned festival, back after a two-year hiatus due to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, features the Masskara Sports Olympics on October 1 to 8; Masskara Trade Fair on October 10 to 16; and Masskara cultural activities, including the main events, until October 23.

Other festival sites are the Baywalk at the Reclamation Area, Lacson Tourism Strip, SMX Convention Center, Panaad Park and Stadium, and University of St. La Salle Coliseum. (PNA)